Declaration on Concelebration In Celebratione Missae
August 7, 1972
Author: Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship
Everyone has the
right and duty, when sharing in the celebration of Mass "to play his proper role
in accordance with the diversity of orders and functions . . . in such wise that
the very ordering of the celebration will manifest the Church in its various
ranks and ministries."  Priests, ordained by the special Sacrament of Orders,
perform the function that is properly theirs in the celebration of Mass
whenever, individually or with other priests, they effect and offer the
sacrifice of Christ sacramentally and receive Holy Communion. 
It is fitting
therefore that at Mass priests should celebrate or concelebrate, so as to play
their part more fully and in the manner proper to themselves, and that they
should not communicate merely, as do the laity. 
Since a number
of problems have been posed about the interpretation of the General Instruction
of the Roman Missal (numbers 76 and 158), the Sacred Congregation for Divine
Worship makes the following declaration:
1.The members of
chapters and communities of institutes of perfection whom pastoral care obliges
to celebrate Mass for the faithful, may, on the same day, concelebrate at the
conventual or community Mass.  The concelebration of the Eucharist in
communities ought to be held in high esteem. Fraternal concelebration by priests
symbolizes and strengthens the links which unite them with one another and which
unite the community.  This way of celebrating the sacrifice, with everybody
taking part consciously, actively and in the way that is proper to him, sets the
action of the community more clearly in relief and is a very special
manifestation of the Church, showing the unity of sacrifice and priesthood in
the unique act of thanksgiving around the same altar. 
2.When a priest,
in conformity with number 158 of the General Instruction on the Roman Missal,
concelebrates at the principal Mass on the occasion of a pastoral visitation or
a special gathering of priests - for example, during a pastoral gathering, a
congress or a pilgrimage - he may also celebrate for the good of the faithful.
however must be observed:
and competent superiors  must see to it that in communities and at
gatherings of priests, concelebration is performed with dignity and true
piety. To ensure this, and to achieve their greater spiritual good, the
liberty of the concelebrants must always be respected and their interior and
exterior participation facilitated by organizing the celebration
authentically and totally in accordance with the norms of the General
Instruction on the Roman Missal. Each part of the Mass should be celebrated
as its nature demands,  tasks and functions should be clearly defined and
attention paid to the singing and to the moments of silence.
who celebrate Mass for the good of the faithful and who concelebrate at
another Mass may on no account accept a stipend for the concelebrated Mass.
excellence of concelebration as a manner of celebrating the Eucharist in
communities is not to be denied, Mass without the participation of the
faithful "remains at the same time the center of the entire Church and the
heart of priestly existence." 
For this reason,
every priest ought to be allowed the right to celebrate Mass alone.  To
ensure priests' liberty, everything should be made available to facilitate such
celebrations: time should be set aside, there should be a place where a single
celebration is possible and an altar server should be at hand, and whatever else
is needed should be made available.
Instruction on the Roman Missal, n. 58; Sacrosanctum Concilium, n.28.
Decree Ecclesiae Semper, 7 March 1965; Acta Apostolicae Sedis
57 (1965), pp. 410-411.
Instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium, 25 May 1967, n. 43.
Instruction on the Roman Missal, n.76.
Constitution on the Church, n. 28; Decree on the Mystery and Life of
Priests, n. 8.
Decree Ecclesiae Semper, 7 March 1965; Instruction Eucharisticum
Mysterium, n. 47.
Instruction on the Roman Missal, n. 155.
Instruction Musicam Sacram, 5 March 1967, n. 6.
The Synod of
Bishops, De Sacerdotio Ministeriali, Part Two, n. 3. [This paragraph
seems open to misinterpretation. The Latin is: Quamvis concelebratio
forma sit praeclara celebrationis eucharisticae in communitatibus habendae,
ipsa quoque celebratio sine fidelium participatione "manet tamen centrum
totius Ecclesiae et veluti cor existentiae sacerdotalis." The French
translation in Documentation catholique (n. 1622, p. 1113) renders
forma praeclara as une maniere excellente, which seems weaker
than the context would warrant. But it is the quotation from the Synod's
text which might most easily be misinterpreted. The meaning is not
that it is only Mass clebrated without the participation of the faithful
which is "the center of the entire Church and the heart of priestly
existence"; this, of course, applies to all celebrations of the Eucharist,
"even if the Eucharist should be celebrated without participation by the
faithful," as the Synod's text puts it.-Editor.]
Instruction Eucharisticum Mysterium, n. 47.